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The Second First Season

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Episode 8: The Park

Note: This episode contains strong language. There are 203 ballparks currently being used by affiliated, professional baseball teams in the United States: 30 in the Major Leagues, 23 spring training facilities used by the big league clubs and their Rookie League affiliates, and 150 Minor League stadiums spread over six levels of baseball. The last three of those 203 parks opened this season: The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the new spring training facility for the Houston Astros and the...


Episode 7: The Manager

Yard Goats manager Jerry Weinstein is a man of many little self-contradictory terms. Words like "simplexity." Or this one he has for a pitch that could be a strike or a ball: a... "striball." And it's not just these seemingly nonsensical little chestnuts, either. There are deeper contradictions in the manager that is Jerry Weinstein.


Episode 6: The Umpires

Since I first started following Minor League Baseball, there's been this ongoing tension that I've felt at all the games. On the one hand, you're pretty much surrounded by people who are living their dreams. On the other hand, kind of by definition, none of those people is really happy, is really satisfied where they are.


Episode 5: The Mascots

The Yard Goats' mascots were first unveiled to the world in October, 2015 , as the last part of a string of branding reveals that included merchandise, logos, logotypes, and uniforms, and that had begun with a Name the Team contest . A crop of fan submissions were winnowed down to a final five names, among them the Hartford Hedgehogs, River Hogs, Whirlybirds, and the oddly singular Hartford Praying Mantis. But as we well know, none of those names won out in the end.


Episode 4: The Prospects

I think the reality is that on Hartford’s whole 25-man roster, there are probably maybe two, maybe three guys who will go on to have Major League careers of any length. Could be a couple more, but it could be a couple fewer too. And so, some of these guys are still in the prospect pile, but the truth is, most of them aren’t. This episode, I want to introduce you to a couple Hartford Yard Goats. And while it might sound like I’m sorting these two guys into those two piles, believe me: I’m...


Episode 3: The Team

This is episode three, and it's the first we're really talking about the actual team, the actual baseball, the actual wins and losses. And I'll say this right at the beginning here: The Yard Goats are... not good. So far, anyway.


Episode 2: The Field(s)

I want to get this spoiler out of the way right at the top here: Hartford has baseball , the Yard Goats have a ballpark, and the ballpark — after a 372-day delay — has a fully-functional baseball field where real, live, professional baseball games are actually played. This episode, we take a look at that now fully-functional baseball field and what it takes to maintain it. And we'll look, too, at Hartford's other pro ball fields -- the Hartford Base Ball Grounds and Clarken/Bulkeley Field...


Episode 1: The Yard Goats' First First Season (And A Few Years Leading Up To It)

The plan is to tell the story of the Yard Goats' second season -- their first season in a new city, their first season in a new ballpark, their first season as a home team. But I can’t tell you that story until I tell you this story, the story of last year, the Yard Goats' first first season, their lost season on the road -- and the story of the last few years, the story of building a ballpark that seemed like maybe it'd never get built, the story of moving a ballclub from a Hartford...